Is the Activity Centres Strategy all new?

    The Strategy is an update from our 2006 and 2012 strategies. It is generally consistent with the earlier strategies, with updates to reflect current Council objectives, and State Government planning policy. Key changes are:

    • Updating the categories of centres to be consistent with State Government policy.
    • An emphasis on job creation within Casey, and diversity of land uses.
    • Emphasising local neighbourhood shops that are walkable and accessible to residents.
    • Recognise new centres that have been developed, and where future centres will be located as housing is developed.

    Why can’t people just build a shop wherever they want?

    A key objective of planning is orderly land use and separating incompatible land uses. Businesses often generate traffic or parking issues and odour or noise that may not be appropriate in a residential area. Residents and local businesses all benefit when most shops are grouped into conveniently located and pleasantly designed activity centres.

    Why aren’t local shops built in new areas when houses are built?

    Businesses normally require a population catchment before developing their sites to meet their business requirements. Often these catchments aren’t big enough until most of the housing is built and occupied. For example, in Doveton and Eumemmering most of the houses were built in the late 1950’s. Some shops were constructed then, but many of the shops weren’t built until the early 1980’s. It is important to ensure that the land is set aside for commercial purposes at the planning stages so that it’s available for development when the population reaches the level to justify development.

    How can the Strategy increase local jobs?

    Many of Casey’s activity centres are dominated by retail shops and lack non-retail floorspace to accommodate commercial office. The Strategy seeks to increase the amount of “non-retail” floorspace in Casey’s activity centres by setting targets for non-retail include floorspace and building height. These targets will help ensure large new developments in activity centres include non-retail floorspace, providing spaces for higher wage employment to locate in Casey over time.

    What does the 25%, 30% and 40% non-retail use mean?

    This is the proportion of floorspace we want to be non-retail use. It includes uses like medical centres, childcare centres, offices and gyms amongst others. These targets apply to activity centres depending on size with the largest (Fountain Gate Narre Warren CBD) having the highest target of 40%, and smaller centres (such as Autumn Place or Selandra Rise) having 25% non-retail use. By locating more jobs within Casey, residents won’t have to travel as far for work. Driving shorter distances will reduce congestion for others that travel outside Casey.

    There are lots of businesses in local residential streets. How is this?

    The State-wide sections of the planning scheme allow for some small businesses and community facilities in residential areas. This includes things like small convenience shops (milk bars), doctors’ offices, places of worship and childcare centres. The revised local policy in the Casey Planning Scheme provides clear guidance on when these facilities are suitable in relation to size/scale of the building, operating hours, location and required landscaping. Large facilities servicing a larger community should be located in activity centres.

    How do activity centres reduce car travel?

    Activity centres are spread throughout the City of Casey. Almost all houses in the urban areas are within a 20-minute walk of an activity centre, and many being less than a 10-minute walk. This means that residents can access some services locally, without always needing their car. Combining services at larger centres can also reduce car trips, as it means multiple needs can be serviced in one car trip. Residents can visit the gym, then grab some groceries all without moving the car, or pick up groceries and kids from childcare at the same time, all reducing travel time. But more importantly these reduced car trips lead to fewer cars on the road and less congestion, which means less travel time for other residents on the road.

    What’s the difference between the Activity Centres Strategy and Amendment C258?

    The Strategy sets out Council’s vision for activity centres and how we’ll achieve that vision. It addresses a range of matters including ongoing management, marketing opportunities and land use planning. Amendment C258 is a change to the Casey Planning Scheme. It implements the necessary changes to Casey’s Planning Scheme to support Council to implement the strategy.

    What about car parking?

    The Strategy won’t make any changes to car parking requirements, but it will promote more effective use of car parking by co-locating multiple uses together enabling better sharing of car parking. For example, childcare centres, restaurants or offices generally only use car spaces during certain times. Locating these facilities together means parking spaces can be used by other people outside their peak use times.

    Is it possible to get non-retail employment in smaller activity centres?

    Yes! There are already many non-retail businesses like solicitors or accountants and other small office businesses operating out of former shops in activity centres. In fact, Llewellyn Place in Eumemmerring has 12 former shops, and all are now occupied by non-retail businesses. Many newer activity centres have purpose-built offices above shops for other services.

    What is an activity centre/shopping centre?

    Activity centres can include activities such as commercial, retail, entertainment, tourism, civic/community services, higher education, medical services, and higher density housing.  They are generally our strip and mall shopping centres that provide a mix of activity.

    Are there different types of activity centres?

    Activity centres differ in size and variety, and are designed to be accessible and service the community. The Victorian Government's metropolitan strategy Plan Melbourne identifies various types of centres including Metropolitan Activity Centres, Activity Centres, and Neighbourhood Centres.

    What type of activity centres exist in Casey?

    Each type of activity centre has specific functions, typical characteristics and performance targets. Typical characteristics include transport connectivity and accessibility, retail and office development.

    The City of Casey has a wide range of Activity Centres from Metropolitan Activity Centres (Fountain Gate Narre Warren CBD; one of Australia’s largest) to your local neighborhood shopping strip and everything in between.

    Why have an Activity Centres Strategy?

    Some may question the need for an Activity Centres strategy that encourages activities to co-locate and that defines the role of centres, sometimes in advance of their construction. Can’t we just leave these decisions up to individual investors?

    There are some good reasons to plan a network of activity centres across the City:

    • To provide greater certainty to the community and investors about expectations for the future form of development in activity centres so they remain vibrant and viable in the short and long term.
    • To provide fair access to services for current and future residents: By planning a network of centres we can work towards managing change to ensure activity centres are attractive, diverse and vibrant areas to live, work and shop.
    • To improve the viability and sustainability of urban development by placing services, employment and activity in the appropriate locations to ensure economic and social vitality of the area.

    How will the Activity Centres Strategy affect me?

    Our City is changing and growing and our activity centres need to cater for this change and growth.

    Activity centres provide an environment for local jobs and without proper planning, that trip to the supermarket may become harder as you encounter more traffic congestion and further to walk from your parking space.  By planning sensibly we can work towards ensuring your shopping trip is a convenient experience and local jobs and services are easily accessible.

    Initiatives and actions of the Activity Centres Strategy will promote urban development that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.